Lars KeplerTumba, Sweden. A triple murder, all the same family. The killer is at large, and it looks as if the elder sister escaped the carnage. But she is missing and it seems only a matter of time until she too is murdered. Detective Inspector Joona Linna demands to investigate the grisly aftermath -- against the wishes of the national police. Where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy, Josef, whose mother, father and little sister were killed before his eyes, and he's in shutdown, comatose with shock. Obsessed and desperate, Linna turns to disgraced specialist Erik Maria Bark! The Hypnotist.
WHSmith Edition now contains Exclusive Bonus material including...
Author Q & A
Reading Group Questions
Behind The Hypnotist
Sample Chapter of Lars Kepler’s second Joona Linna thriller - The Nightmare
Judy: Wow. This is new-generation Scandinavian crime fiction at its hottest. Its microwave-hottest. When Stieg Larsson smashed his way into our consciousness with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, we could hardly have known that an army of Nordic novelists was at his heels. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo was one of the first through the breach. Lars Kepler is right behind him, and maybe drawing level in the charge.
The Hypnotist is a fabulously-crafted story from Sweden. A family is wiped out by a serial killer; all but an elder daughter, who is, ominously, missing. The police, stunned at the brutality of a triple murder, race to find and protect her.
There is a witness to the killings – teenage Josef, who saw his mother and baby sister killed in front of him at their home. His father has already been butchered in a nearby sports hall. At first the police think Josef has been murdered too, but crime scene investigators find faint signs of life in the stabbed boy. He is rushed to intensive care, where it quickly becomes apparent that if he survives, he may be the only person to help to find and protect his missing older sister.
But Josef is comatose. How can he possibly assist the investigation? Step forward disgraced specialist Eric Maria Bark, who has publicly disavowed clinical hypnotism after a tragedy linked to his practice years before. But now it seems he has no choice but to hypnotise Josef in order to find the boy’s endangered sister. Reluctantly, Bark agrees. It is a fateful decision.
Richard: The Hypnotist is crime fiction of the highest order. Intricately plotted; forensically designed; Lars Kepler has written a classic of the genre. The binary stars of his novel are policeman Detective Inspector Joona Linna, and psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark.
Both men are desperate. Linna has gone out on a professionally dangerous limb to solve the serial killing of Josef’s family; Bark is seeking redemption from a catastrophic case study that ended in attempted suicide and bitter recrimination. His whole scientific argument for extreme hypnotism has been horribly and publicly discredited. He is a broken man.
Now Linna insists that Bark use his controversial techniques to squeeze information from the horribly wounded Josef. Can the boy’s subconscious be teased into yielding crucial clues to his parents’ and sister’s slayings?
The pressures on both men are intense and Kepler really ratchets up the tension – the Swedish press get hold of the story and Linna and Bark find their reputations on the line. Meanwhile the horribly wounded Josef turns out to be a very dangerous patient.
Nothing it what it seems and The Hypnotist careers to its vicious, brutal conclusion. The only question is: whose theory on who the killer is and what their motives are, is correct? The cynical, weary, but experienced, detective’s? Or the drug-dependant, disgraced but instinctive hypnotist’s?
Lars Kepler is in fact a nom de plume for a literary couple who live and write in Sweden. I’m sure they’re a lovely couple but I’m glad they’re not my neighbours.
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